Kimi Räikkönen took the first win of the 2013 F1 season in Melbourne, Australia at Albert Park raceway. Excellent pitting strategy helped the Finn take first as most of the pack struggled to manage the wear of Pirelli’s new racing tires.
Tire wear, and the threat of rain kept the racing interesting as seven different drivers held the lead at various stages of the race (the most since the 2010 season).
Despite starting with pole position, three time Formula 1 Champion, Sebastian Vettel finished in third. Vettel attributed his performance to poor tire management, saying “we were a little too aggressive with the tires and lost the front and the rears, while others did a little better.”
Despite having the fastest car on the track, thanks to Adrian Newey’s innovate aero, Lotus’s superior chassis setup allowed for reduced tire wear, and thus kept Kimi on the track while others were forced to pit. Räikkönen switched his super soft tires on lap 9 for medium tires, and pitted again on lap 34 for a fresh set of medium tires. Unlike Räikkönen most drivers were forced to pit three times.
Ferrari driver, Fernando Alonso finished in second despite starting in 5th position. He was helped by Force India driver, Adrian Sutil, who held the lead for most of the race thanks to staying out of pit lane. Sutil kept the field bunched behind him, seeing this, Alonso opted to pit early to change to medium tires. Alonso was able to overtake Vettel, and Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa who were both emerging from pit lane after waiting longer to change to mediums.
In five days Formula 1 heads to Malaysia for the 10th time, where drivers will run 56 laps on the Circuit of Sepang.
Photo Credit: FIA